Fight Fire With Foam
Ferry VFD members train in Texas with new technique
MARTINS FERRY — Two local firefighters got the chance to receive training in Texas on how to use foam to potentially battle well pad fires in the future.
Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Cody Engleman and Martins Ferry firefighter/EMT Cody Goff both attended the training sponsored by EQT Corp., which has active well pads in Belmont County and across the region.
“It was awesome,” Engleman said of the training, which was held at the Xtreme Fire and Hazard Training Program in College Station, Texas, and conducted by Williams Fire and Hazard Control.
“We’ve brought back local knowledge we can use in the county. Hopefully we can train others,” Engleman added.
Goff said EQT reached out to Belmont County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Ivan about getting a couple firefighters from the county to participate. Both men were flown down to Texas on June 2 where they had two days of classroom training before having four days of hands-on training. They came back Martins Ferry on June 7.
He said the training centered mostly on how foam works and how best to use it. One scenario involved putting out a fire on a crude oil rail car.
“We have railroads that run through Ferry so this was beneficial for us,” Goff said. “We don’t have a well pad in the Ferry area, but both of us work at multiple departments and could be called to well pad emergencies.”
Goff said most departments in the county don’t have foam to use, though Sunset Heights VFD is the exception.
“Foam would have been a good idea for the Fourth Street fire.
“I feel you have less chance of a rekindle if applied correctly versus just straight water,” he said.
Goff was referring to a blaze that destroyed several buildings in Martins Ferry’s business district in 2016.
According to information provided by EQT, the week-long program gave firefighters “hands-on training to extinguish fuel-fed fires in a controlled environment, worked with fire-fighting foam to achieve vapor suppression and extinguishment on tank fires, and learned how to move large volumes of water and foam to extinguish industrial fires.”
“EQT is committed to providing a safe environment for communities located near EQT operations, and we wanted to support these brave first responders as they sharpen the skills needed to protect life, property and the environment. This experience will have long lasting and measurable positive impacts for EQT, our neighboring communities, and the first responders who attended.
“EQT sponsored 11 participants in all from Allegheny, Greene and Washington Counties, Pa.; Belmont County; and Wetzel County,” the company noted.
Goff said he hopes other local firefighters will get the chance to experience the training in Texas in the future.
“We don’t have anything to that standard,” he said.
Goff said it was his first trip to Texas, and while there wasn’t time for sightseeing while there he did get to see the Texas A&M football stadium on his way to the training site.
“Our training started at 8 a.m. and we got done at 6 p.m. every day,” he said.
Linda Robertson, EQT spokeswoman, said the training will not necessarily eliminate the need for professional firefighting companies to respond to potential fires in the future.
“It will always depend on the situation, but the training promotes interoperability, communication and teamwork, and interoperability is the key to successful mitigation of emergencies,” she said.
From across the Ohio River, Josh Smith represented the New Martinsville Fire Department during the training.